The Catalyst by Blake Vanier can be best described as a deep dive into the complex world we discovered in The Orphans of New Lur. The plot is mainly around Nero, Catalyst, Iona and Isis. We are left with more questions than before, or to put it another way, we are eagerly anticipating the next book in the series.
There was a time gap between the conclusion of the first book and the beginning of the second book. The narrative of the latter is fast paced, to say the least. I could not put the book down once I started reading since it piqued my interest from the first page. There was more mystery and adventure in this book than the previous one as well as a more creative storyline. The plot was also more serious, but it still had light-hearted moments.
Blake has also done a great job with character development in the book. I enjoyed how the characters developed. The characters are more grown-up now, corresponding to the time lapse between the books. The difference in them is evident in their language and the fact that they have crushes. They are also examples of the seriousness and light-heartedness of the characters we have become invested in.
Blake’s writing style is as comprehensive as it’s always been. I did not expect the time-lapse, but I liked that it gave a chance for the author to make the characters more grown up to deal with their strange reality. Another advantage of the time difference is the potential to move the tale forward more swiftly, which is a fantastic approach to keep readers hooked because the pace does not slow down. Furthermore, the action scenes weren’t tedious to read, which is not an easy feat to be achieved on the author’s part.
Because of the thorough writing style, every scene was very descriptive. Young readers wouldn’t be comfortable with the detailed sensitive scenes involving violence and death in the book. The mature language and the serious storyline are also not appropriate for them.
Like the first book, Blake has successfully managed to rope the readers in from the first page itself. It is an enthralling storyline, an adventure that barely has a break and a plethora of mystery and intrigue, and before I realised it, I was losing sleep over this book. I can’t wait to read its successor.